Did You Know? The world’s largest pyramid is not in Egypt? Shocked! Read to know More!
The “Great Pyramid” is found in Egypt, so it makes sense to believe it is the highest pyramid in the world. However, there’s just a tiny problem- the fact that it is not. The world’s largest pyramid is, in fact, a hill hidden in Mexico!
It is known as the Great Pyramid of Cholula and is the oldest pyramid in the world. It is the largest pyramid in North America as well as the world and beats the biggest pyramid in Guatemala.
Why is it quite unknown?
The Tlachihualtepetl is quite unknown, thanks to our admiration for the Giza of Egypt. Apart from that, this pyramid is often overlooked as it is hidden beneath a hill in the nearby town of Pueblo.
About the world’s largest pyramid
The Great Pyramid of Cholula, called Tlachihualtepetl, stands 55 meters (180 ft) above the surrounding plain. It measures 400 by 400 meters (1,300 by 1,300 ft). It would be shocking to know that its base is four times larger than that of Giza (The Egyptian Great Pyramid that we think is the largest), and it has almost twice the volume.
This is the world’s largest monument ever built. Hernán Cortés, the famous Spanish explorer, missed it completely and constructed a church above it. The church still stands today and is known as La Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Los Remedios (Our Lady of Remedies Church).
Why was it built?
The Great Pyramid of Cholula was built by the Aztecs to honour Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent and the Aztec god of wind and learning, creator of all mankind. The Aztecs even built a holy city around it, expecting the god’s divine protection.
How was it built?
The Great Pyramid of Cholula is actually built on a flat plateau, taking advantage of topography with the surrounding area consisting of hills and mountains. It is built with six layers built on top of each other, like a Russian doll. The subsequent civilizations built on top of what was already laid down. Therefore, the Aztecs were not the original builders.
Surprisingly, the construction of the Tlachihualtepetl started more than a thousand years before the Aztecs emerged, presumably around 300 B.C.
The world’s largest pyramid is actually built from unique bricks called adobe bricks that were smoothed out to create decorations. It falters in the monsoon but can last a thousand years in the summer, as with the case of this pyramid. Rich organic material was acquired from the tropical jungle.
Construction took place from the 3rd century B.C. through the 7th century A.D. and was abandoned in between due to unclear reasons. Records suggest that the city’s original inhabitants, the Choluteca were the ones who laid its foundation with adobe bricks. The Cholutecas seem wealthy as not only did they start building the monument, but they also decorated it.
The arrival of the conquistadors
The conquistadors are a class of people who invaded the Cholula. The Aztecs had occupied it at that time and were one of the richest dynasties in the world.
Aztecs considered the city sacred, and so they didn’t invest much in its defence and left it to the great god Quetzalcoatl to protect them from any harm. Their beliefs were proved wrong as eventually, the Spanish slaughtered around 3,000 people in a single hour, wiping 10% of their population, and levelled all the buildings. But they spared the world’s largest pyramid.
Why? The Great Pyramid of Cholula wasn’t always known as a pyramid. The invading conquistadors actually did see the pyramid, but they did not realize what it represented.
As stated above, Cortes had built a church right on top of what he thought was a hill. It’s unclear if the Aztecs of those times were aware that the tall hill was actually concealing the great pyramid build by their forefathers.
The world’s largest pyramid, the grand Cholula pyramid, remained a mystery until the 1900s when a psychiatric ward was built nearby by the locals. Archaeologists arrived at a conclusion in the 1930s that it was very much a pyramid covered in vegetation and mud. In 1954, the total length of discovered tunnels came to approximately 8.0 kilometres (5 miles).
The church on top of the hill was already an important pilgrimage site, and the revealing of the pyramid led to the area becoming more famous for indigenous spirituality. This led to the archaeologists deciding not to fully excavate it. Researchers today are using geophysical techniques and remote sensing to study the pyramid non-invasively.
Great Pyramid of Cholula is again a major point of interest after nearly more than 2,300 years of its construction. It is still not as popular as the smaller pyramids of Teotihuacan or the emblematic Giza or the great Egyptian pyramids, but people from nearby areas and all over the world visit it. Thousands flock to see it each year.
It is wonderful to see that 500 years after the Spanish invasion, the locals in this area and the world’s largest pyramid are again dealing with another invasion which is a more pleasant one: tourists. With more and more information about this world’s largest pyramid hidden under a hill, it is predicted to beat the Giza and retain its position at the top as the world’s largest pyramid.